Red Storm, Hoosiers more evenly matched than the scatter

St. John’s vs. Indiana Odds

The combination of Indiana and St. John in the Gavitt Games could be one of the most entertaining matchups on Wednesday night. Both teams have added an abundance of depth through transfer and are looking to make an NCAA Tournament run and perhaps a run at their respective conferences.

Both teams have an advantage in one division: Indiana on defense, St. John’s with pace. Indiana had a close call in her first game with Eastern Michigan, and Mike Anderson is a great coach. Look for him to make this a much closer game than the spread indicates.

The Red Storm only returns three players, but they are all crucial: Posh Alexander, Julian Champagnie and Dylan Addae-Wusu. Anderson otherwise added a lot of firepower with his high roster turnover. He acquired the following talent: Montez Mathis (Rutgers), Tareq Coburn (Hofstra), Joel Soriano (Fordham), Aaron Wheeler (Purdue), Stef Smith (Vermont), Rafael Pinzon (freshman), Drissa Traore (freshman) and O’ Mar Stanley (freshman). The transfers are the story here. They all add an element in one way or another.

St. John’s likes to pick up the pace, and that starts with Alexander. The Red Storm was 10th at adjusted pace in 2020-21, using just 15 seconds per possession. They’ve done the same this year with a highly efficient attack, but that probably won’t stick against a Big Ten opponent. However, Indiana is normally not allowed to turn the ball often, but Alexander averaged 2.6 steals per game last season. Xavier Johnson also has five turnovers so far, so this could be a problem.

The attack for the Red Storm is via post Champagnie. Last season, he averaged 7.4 rebounds per game and 19.8 points per game. He will bask with Trayce Jackson-Davis. It will be a feast for the eyes, but Champagnie has a small advantage. He has only committed one foul this season. Jackson-Davis has already shot 18 free throws, so as long as Champagnie can play clean, he should have a scoring advantage.

Indiana, like St. John’s, added a lot of depth via transfer: Xavier Johnson (Pitt), Parker Stewart (UT Martin), Miller Kopp (Northwestern) and Michael Durr (USF). Logan Duncomb and Tamar Bates are also both four-star recruits.

This violation will run through the block. Indiana is no slouch, especially Jackson-Davis, who already has 10 blocks. He is the cornerstone of Mike Woodson’s attack and will be all season. His problem is that, even if he is efficient and earns free throws, he has only gone 10-for-18. He only made 65.6% of the line last year, so he’ll have to knock this one down.

Race Thompson and Kopp provide other artillery for Indiana to work with. Find a potential double team to limit the damage caused by Champagnie.

Indiana’s defense is the name of the game, but the biggest concern is the offensive rebound. Outside of Jackson-Davis, the Hoosiers will need help from Thompson and Kopp who will crush the glass because if they don’t they will have very short trips around the field.

In addition, Indiana lost Armaan Franklin, Jerome Hunter and Al Durham in the transfer. These were three of their four best three-point shooters. Kopp will help fill that void, but they need help from Jordan Geronimo and Xavier Johnson.

Bet Selection for St. John’s vs. Indiana

St. John’s and Indiana are more even than the spread says in this game. St. John’s has some holes in defense, but Indiana will struggle to get to the free-throw line and hit threes.

Take the Red Storm at +6.5 (-110) and play to +5 (-115).

Choose: St. John’s +6.5 (-110), play to +5 (-115)

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